What do you do when you haven’t a single idea of what to write about and it’s time for a blog post? When I was writing my weekly humor column for the Plano Star Courier, I often wondered what I’d do if I ran out of material and was just blank two days before my deadline. That was back when I had to write the column out by hand in brief snatches of time between consoling the wailing child who had an altercation with the back door and tossing the fifth load of laundry into the dryer, while trying to keep the mountain that was the other four loads from flowing off the kitchen table like lava.
Then, if by some miracle, I had my 500 to 700 words in a coherent semblance of order, the clothes folded, the child smiling, I went to my trusty typewriter and typed the column as neatly as I could, considering I was the world’s worst typist.
The timeline of that writing process went something like this:
- Write the column over the weekend – if I was lucky I might have material for more than one.
- On Monday, type up said columns and take them to the newspaper. No convenient e-mail back then.
- The newspaper went to press on Tuesday.
- On Wednesday, we all eagerly looked for my column – especially the kid who kept track of how many times he was featured as opposed to his siblings.
When I was stuck for something to write about, I could always call my good friend, Cleo, and she’d share some her her family nonsense. I was saved.
Now back to my original question. I sat down at my computer this morning with no idea for a blog post, and even after some free-writing to prime the pump so to speak, there was still no idea. So, I looked back on some older posts and found this one that I thought would be fun for this April Fools’ Day. If you’d like to see some of the best of the 2019 April Fools’ Day pranks, check out this article at The Guardian.
The following blog post ran in 2006.
As we all know, writers are by nature very insecure people, especially in the early years when perhaps the only thing we get published is a letter to the editor and that’s cut from four paragraphs to three lines. In fact, for years basic insecurity was the only thing I had to affirm my credibility as a writer.
But even in my moment of greatest anxiety, I never reached the heights (or should I say the depths) of insecurity as did Glenda Gibberish. She wrote an entire book on squares of toilet tissue and hid each page in an empty roll. When her husband, Harry, asked about all the cardboard cylinders lining the dresser, Glenda told him she was making toys for the gerbils. That worked well until he decided to take an interest in the welfare of the pets. She lost one whole chapter in a single afternoon.
Realizing that would never do, Glenda resorted to stuffing the rolls in her underwear drawer, in the empty cookie jar, and in the springs of the old sofa bed. She figured she was safe – she put her own clothes away and nobody ever bothered with the cookie jar since she never baked. But she forgot about her mother-in-law’s visit. Oddly enough, the other woman said nothing when helping to unfold the sofa bed, but Harry gave her one of those looks that we women enjoy so much. Then he surprised the gerbils with new toys.
This ruse went on for years, and she couldn’t bring herself to tell a soul that she was writing. Then one day she was hit with an overwhelming urge to “out” herself. It was the same compulsion that drives a dieter to a banana split at Dairy Queen, and, try as she might, Glenda couldn’t shake it. So she had lunch with her best friend.
“Oh, no. Is it serious?”
“Not right now, but it could be.”
“How long… I mean, have you been this way forever?”
“Since I was a little girl. But, you know. It isn’t the kind of thing you just drop into casual conversation.”
“Good. Maybe we can keep it from getting around.”
“Don’t worry. I have plenty of editors looking out for me on that count.”
“Have you told Harry yet?”
“No. But he did wonder about the sudden demise of Jake the gerbil. I think he choked on a particularly graphic sex scene.”
“How have you managed to keep it from Harry?”
“Right now, I tell him I’m going into the closet to straighten up a few things. But that’s not going to last long. Sooner or later he’s going to remember that I don’t like to straighten anything.”
“Don’t worry. You can trust me with your secret.”
“Actually, I wouldn’t mind if you told a few people. My book comes out next month and I need the publicity.”
A question for my writer friends, have you ever been this insecure?